Murdoch-backed Lupa Systems, Uday Shankar lead ₹13,500-crore investment in Reliance’s Viacom18

Our Bureau | Updated on: Apr 27, 2022

FILE PHOTO: Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, arrives to address the company's annual general meeting in Mumbai, India July 5, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/File Photo | Photo Credit: FRANCIS MASCARENHAS

Reliance Projects will invest ₹1,645 crore; JioCinema OTT app will be transferred to Viacom18

Bodhi Tree Systems, which is a platform of James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems and Uday Shankar, along with a consortium of investors will put ₹13,500 crore in Mukesh Ambani-backed Viacom18.

Under the deal, Reliance Projects & Property Management Services Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries which has significant presence in television, OTT, distribution, content creation, and production services, will invest ₹1,645 crore. In addition, JioCinema OTT app will be transferred to Viacom18. This comes ahead of the bidding for the lucrative media broadcasting rights for Indian Premier League.

Paramount Global (formerly known as ViacomCBS), a global media and entertainment company comprised of iconic content studios, TV networks and streaming services including CBS, Showtime Networks, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount+ and Pluto TV will continue as a shareholder of Viacom18 and will continue to supply Viacom18 its premium global content.

“Bodhi Tree Systems, a newly formed platform between Lupa Systems Founder and CEO James Murdoch and Uday Shankar, the former president of The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific and former Chairman of Star and Disney India, will leverage the partners’ shared track record of building iconic businesses and shaping the media landscape in India and globally. Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar, is an investor in Bodhi Tree Systems,” said a press statement.

Mukesh D Ambani, Chairman & Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited, said, “James and Uday’s track record is unmatched. For over two decades, they have played an undeniable role in shaping the media ecosystem in India, Asia, and around the world. We are very excited to partner with Bodhi Tree and lead India’s transition to a streaming-first media market. We are committed to bringing the best media and entertainment services for Indian customers through this partnership.”

“Our ambition is to leverage technology advances, particularly in mobile, to provide meaningful solutions to meet everyday media and entertainment needs at scale. We seek to reshape the entertainment experience across more than 1 billion screens,” Murdoch and Shankar said in a joint statement.

The transaction is expected to close within six months and is subject to closing conditions and requisite approvals.

Published on April 27, 2022
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